It's already mid-August and the summer of 2010 is almost over. It always go by so fast. The posts have been sparse this summer as our activity has slowed down as the heat picked up. However, we have not been totally idle this summer. We have had a few things going on to keep our hands in the smoke.
In July, we were invited to cook at the home of Larry and Donna Reed in Grand Lake, OK. They had a large party for their family and friends in their backyard which offers a spectacular view of the lake. We cooked chicken, spare ribs, boston butt and brisket. It was a very relaxing cook as we set up our smokers with the lake in the backdrop. Watching the smoke rise out of them with the water in the background made for a relaxing day. We all had a great time!
This past weekend we participated in the Cattleman's Ozark BBQ Challenge in Springfield, MO. The event was held at the Ramada Inn Oasis Convention Center on the northeast side of town. Thirty-two teams showed up to do battle. The weather was sweltering with the temperature gauge on our clock reading a cool 111 degrees in the shade! I have never perspired so much. The organizers did a terrific job insuring we had plenty of ice, water and power. We also had access to the air conditioned convention center which was a polar paradise!
The cook itself went well. The rain moved in around 1am and lasted until 430am helping to cool things off for a few hours. The WSM does not like getting wet. I was worried we might run into some trouble trying to maintain our temps but we were able to keep the cookers underneath the ez-up and out of harms way. We did have trouble trying to get our brisket to finish. I can not remember having to struggle so much with one piece of meat. It refused to cooperate and took much longer than normal to finish. Everything else was very cooperative. Once turn-in time arrived, everything went into the boxes very well. I felt all of our presentations were top notch. We did change our pork box presentation. Both of us really liked the new look and hoped that the judges did too.
As the award ceremony started, we both felt that everything came out well but we were a little worried about the troublesome brisket. We were hoping for at least one call on something. The chicken category started off with a bang as we took 1st overall! Wow, what a shot in the arm that was! We heard our names again for ribs in the 6th position followed up with a 7th place call in pork. Well, we are sitting on the edge of our seats now. I was afraid to say anything as to jinx us in brisket. I knew we had a shot at winning but it would take a call in brisket to get it. So we sat as the brisket top 10 was announced and we were not called. It was a little deflating. I thought we still might have an outside shot at winning but ended hearing our names called for 5th place overall. We were still very pleased with the results as we are just that much closer to winning our first contest!
Right now we have one more contest scheduled and that is the American Royal Open. Hopefully with our lessons learned this summer, we can make a good run at it there.